“Seeing Auschwitz” Exhibit Provides Powerful Learning Experience for Charlotte Community

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By Queens University Communications

On Feb. 9, the Stan Greenspon Center for Holocaust and Social Justice Education at Queens University of Charlotte welcomed its first visitors to the North American debut of “Seeing Auschwitz.” The exhibit, open until Apr. 15, 2024, is on display at the Nine Eighteen Nine Studio Gallery in the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Center in Charlotte. It offers visitors a unique window into one of the darkest chapters in human history.

“Although the photos within this exhibit are new to the public, these memories are not new to Holocaust survivors,” said Rabbi Judy Schindler, director of the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center. “The memories of dehumanization, displacement, and death will always remain painful.”

(from left to right) Leigh Altman, Judy LaPietra, Rabbi Judy Schindler, President Dan Lugo, and Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio

A powerful and immersive journey through a vast collection of 100 photographs, “Seeing Auschwitz” portrays the realities of life and death within the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

“There are no words to capture the hate that precipitated Auschwitz and the horrors that were perpetuated there, and so we will rely on the potency of 100 photographs to truly see Auschwitz, and in seeing try to come to terms with one of the greatest tragedies of the modern age so that it will never ever happen again,” said Dan Lugo, president of Queens University.

“I was honored to learn that the ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ exhibit would make its North American debut right here in Mecklenburg County. I know that this exhibit will be an impactful learning experience for many of our residents,” said Mecklenburg County Manager Dena R. Diorio. “Auschwitz is a place that we’ve all studied in our history books and not many of us will ever see. This exhibit makes this learning experience extremely personal for us and will be the closest we ever get to understanding what it was like there. It will make us think, it will make us feel, and most importantly it will teach us valuable lessons about human rights so that we will never forget.”

“This exhibit offers personal insight into a historical atrocity. It is especially important to provide this experience at this time of rising hate and antisemitism in our nation and the world,” said Judy LaPietra, associate director of the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center. “Education about the evil perpetrated there is necessary for people to understand the importance of combating hate.”

More than just a historical record, “Seeing Auschwitz” serves as a powerful educational tool for students of all ages. The exhibit is free for all N.C. students, including college students with ID. So far, more than 5,000 Charlotte-area students are scheduled to visit the exhibit with their teachers.

“From its inception, the Greenspon Center committed itself to providing high quality Holocaust education across the region by providing exemplary training, resources, and programming for teachers, students, and the community,” said Katie Cunningham, Holocaust education and outreach specialist, Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center. “With the passing of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act by The North Carolina General Assembly in November 2021, we recommitted to our vision and reimagined the possibilities of what our Center could do. It is our hope that the students who visit the ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ exhibit will have a deeply moving and impactful experience.”

“It is critical that students across our region understand the world was turned upside down by the hate of the Holocaust. This exhibit shows the depths of depravity, but we have faith that the education that we offer here will inspire the heights of humanity,” said Schindler.

The exhibit is an original creation by Musealia, a Spanish organization dedicated to exploring powerful stories through exhibits, in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the United Nations and UNESCO.  A panel of curators of renowned experts in the history of the camp and education of the Holocaust was brought together to prepare it.

“Projects such as this one are how we lift Queens’ mission off the page and put it into action,” said Lugo. “It will no doubt plant seeds of caring and respect, and we hope it will tear down walls of prejudice and discrimination and promote personal responsibility and public advocacy.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://seeingauschwitz.com/charlotte/

To learn more about the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University, visit www.stangreensponcenter.org


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